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Tuesday, March 17, 2015


I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to veteran artist, Charles Bibbs at the C Art Gallery in Seattle.  The work of Charles Bibbs is distinctive.  You will know it when you see it.  As a new artist, I wanted to know what words he had for up and coming artists.  He told me three things that a new and emerging artists should know.

Woman standing in front of a painting at an art gallery

[Editor's note: this post was originally drafted in 2013.  It sat in the "draft" section of my blog dashboard for two years.  Now, it is fully liberated thanks to the Blogger Challenge: From Draft to Post.]

Think beyond local artist

Think outside of the label "local" artist.  With the advent of the internet, who is really local anyway?  Your work can really be available to anyone in the world to view and purchase.  I immediately felt a sense of expansion in that gallery.  Of course I knew that but it hadn't yet reached my cells yet.  In that moment, it did.  I realized that out of all of the people in this world there were sure to be at least a million who loved my work, right?!  I was sure of it.  

Never sell your art 

Mr. Bibbs then proceeded to tell me something else that I found interesting.  He said that he has never sold not one single painting!  Concrete, meet my jaw, jaw this is concrete.  My mouth hit the floor.  Plenty of people knew of this man, had paintings and prints of his in their possession and he tells me he never sold a single piece!  This didn't make sense.  How could this be?  I had to replay what he said in my mind before coming to.  He said that he never sold a single painting.  Someone else sold his paintings for him, whether it was a gallery, an agent or what have you.  He said that when someone else who knows your works sells it for you, the artist is cast in another light.  There are plenty of options to consider in order to heed this advice.  

  • Seek traditional gallery representation where the profit split is usually 50/50.  You will definitely want to mark up your prices.
  • Join an artists cooperative where all of the artists work together to maintain the gallery and sell the art.
  • Submit work to an artists collective which is more exhibition based rather than helping to maintain or operate a gallery.  When your piece is sold, the collective retains a small portion of the sale.  
  • Participate in the many art festivals that install your work and do the selling for you for a commission. 
  • Hire a trusted and knowledgeable individual or company to act as an agent to sell your work.

Have a memorable artist bio

Bibbs, talked about the importance of making your mark early on in one's art career.  Boldness, even from a new artist is what gets noticed.  A good place to start is in one's artist bio.  Include interesting things about who you are as an artist or something fascinating about your process.  Fill your bio with some of your artsy secrets but save the really juicy details for an artist talk.     


As I stood there in the gallery, going over what was shared, a sense of empowerment began to pump up my chest.  

  • I began to think about myself as an international artist which allowed me to create and visualize more opportunities as an artist.  
  • I felt a sense of relief after considering the fact that I no longer had to sell my work but could hire or partner with someone else to do it for me. 
  • It was encouraging that I could relax and be myself even in something formal like an artist bio.     

Above all else, I felt liberated and had a deeper desire to keep creating!  




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